On Saturday, Sept. 19, a local remote control airplane flying club held an “Extreme Flight” aircraft flying event Just north of Dawson County, drawing in hundreds of spectators to see the tricks and aerobatics performed by pilots and their model planes.
T.J. Klise, president of the North Georgia Model Aviators, said that the event drew in both spectators and pilots from all over the north Georgia area.
“We were expecting 30 to 40 pilots and we had about 30 come out,” Klise said. “At one point in time we counted 75 spectators, so over the course of the day we’ve probably had 250 people come through here.”
The event showcased local pilots and pilots working with Extreme Flight RC, a company in Cumming that produces remote-controlled model airplanes. Chris Hinson, owner of Extreme Flight, said that his group participates in model aircraft flying events all over the country and boasts some of the best flyers in the business.
"This is my local flying club where I test all my new airplanes, but we travel all over the southeastern United States and outside of that for events,” Hinson said. “We’re showing off a bunch of our new airplanes and interfacing with our customers, and we’ve had a clinic and done a few things to inform the customers of stuff that we do.”
According to members from the North Georgia Model Aviators and Extreme Flight RC, events like the one held Saturday are aimed at passing on the passion of model aircraft flying to potential pilots new and old.
Heidi Lane, landlord for a stretch of property off Geirrein Rd in Lumpkin County the club uses to fly their aircraft, said that passing on this interest is important for the craft and for aviation in general.
“This club does a lot of things with college kids, high school kids, the STEM program and stuff like that, so it’s not just a lot of grownups out here playing with planes,” Lane said. “General aviation is on the decline, so this is a great way to get people interested in aviation at a young age.”
Club member Ronald Gaynor said that the club has presented the art of model aircraft flying to several school groups in the past, and that he is always surprised at what sparks interest in the children.
“You never know what might spark interest in a kid, like we’ve done a lot of teaching opportunities with school children and there are some really smart kids who are interested in aeronautics,” Gaynor said. “We’re hoping to restart presenting to kids soon, plus it just gives us another reason to come out here and play with big boy toys.”
According to Gaynor, the hobby of flying model aircraft is one that doesn’t get old easily and one that he doesn’t plan to drop anytime soon.
“A lot of us started flying when we were younger and stopped when we discovered dating, then we picked it back up later,” Gaynor said. “Now we’re all still flying, like we have one pilot who’s 93 or 94 and he still flies and still builds airplanes.”
According to Klise and Hinson, the best way to learn about model aircraft flying is to join a club like the North Georgia Model Aviators.
“Our club provides teaching, coaching and flight instruction,” Klise said. “And we’ll get you from having a box of sticks to something that’s ready to fly. We have about 70 members right now, all the way from high school kids up to retired guys.”
Hinson, who flies his own planes with the model airplane club, said that joining the North Georgia Model Aviators is a great way to get started with flying model aircraft.
“If you’re interested in getting into this hobby you should come out to our club and talk to some of our members,” Hinson said. “We’ll be more than happy to guide you into a beginner airplane to get started and then you can work your way up.”
For more information on the North Georgia Model Aviators club, visit https://www.ngmarc.org/.
For more information on Extreme Flight RC, visit https://extremeflightrc.com/.